Non-native Prussian carp, which are closely related to goldfish, are being found in “significant” numbers in the Red Deer River and its tributaries. (Contributed photo).

Experiment being conducted to keep Prussian Carp out of Gull Lake

Geotubes theoretically trap Carp eggs allowing water to be pumped into the lake

Currently there is no evidence of Prussian Carp in Gull Lake and a new experiment by the Gull Lake Water Society is looking to keep it that way — with the added benefit of being able to positively affect water levels in the lake.

Prussian Carp are a severely invasive species that choke out lakes to other species of fish and and Keith Nesbitt, director of the Gull Lake Water Society, said a recent donation of geotubes will allow them to stop carp before entering the lake.

“It is a fine membrane that when water pumps through it, it traps all of the Carp eggs. That would prevent them from getting further into the lake,” he said.

If the beta experiment currently being conducted on the Blindman River succeeds, the Water Society will be able to begin to pump water in the lake to get their levels back up.

“The way things are set up now is that we can’t pump anything into the lake at all, either from the Blindman or any other river,” he said.

It is unclear the exact way Prussian Carp can enter a watershed but once they do — they are extremely difficult to get rid of,

“In 2017, that was the first year they were found in the Red Deer river, where they then came into the Blindman and further on,” Nesbitt said.

Carp continuously breed and can be be fertilized by other fish, meaning their numbers can explode rapidly. The experiment being done on the Blindman to prevent the spread of the species is a first-of-its-kind.

“There has been other experiments using air and electricity down in areas like Flint, Michigan,” Nesbitt said. “An engineering firm did a report for the Alberta Government a few years ago and that basically said there is nothing out there that would eliminate the problem.

“This is something new that we designed and we are running this experiment on the Blindman River.”

Nesbitt hopes a successful experiment will mean approval from Alberta Environment to begin pumping water into Gull Lake. A successful test would also mean other groups taking care of lake and rivers would also be able to mimic the experiment.

“It is an ongoing experiment and I am not sure when we will be completely done with it. We are working with Alberta Environment on it,” he said.

The Gull Lake Water Society and the experiment is completely privately funded and members of the society donate their time to the care of the Lake.

“Were cautiously optimistic that we will see some satisfactory results,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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